5 Ways to Make Your Server Love You

Insider tips on ways to have a great experience dining out.

Yo, Waiter! [image source: davesblogcentral.com], crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Yo, Waiter! [image source: davesblogcentral.com]

Not a Nice Person [image source: etsy.com], crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Not a Nice Person [image source: etsy.com]
We might be there to serve you, but we certainly don’t live to serve. As a server a few times over, I have been on both sides of the table: ordering and taking orders.

For this reason I consider myself a bit of an expert on restaurant etiquette, so here are some insider tips – pun intended – to making your waitstaff love you.

All of the real-life exchanges, which I shall transcribe below as mini-scripts, will help you become a restaurant superstar.

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Be a Restaurant Superstar [image source: lifechristian.com]
  1. DO NOT make your table the world’s messiest obstacle course to clean-up. Work with me people. Customers have a weird habit of ceasing all conversation when I arrive to clear their plates, and staring at me as I cirque-du-soleil my way around their arms and shoulders to balance stacks of plates. I’m not asking you to do my job, but if you’re stuck in the corner, or have created the leaning tower of ripped napkins, maybe just pass it to me?
  • Server notices table has stopped eating and arrives to clear plates.
  • Patrons all sit with their arms crossed as server reaches awkwardly across three people to get single straw wedged between table and wall.
  • Server balances 5 dirty plates, has to return to table to get the last one because no one will simply pick it up and place in her one free hand.
  1. DO ask my opinion of items on the menu! It is literally my job to know about the food and drinks, so save us both some time and just ask for a recommendation if you can’t decide. I’ve served quite a few tables maybe a bit too shy to speak up or ask questions who then end up with a dish made with their least favorite flavors or ogling a plate from another table. I am a walking food review – use me!
  • Patron: “Any recommendations on drinks?”
  • Server: “Oh my gosh, yes a million! Do you have a liquor preference? How do you feel about sweet drinks?”
  1. DO NOT ask for things in several single trip requests. I’m always here to bring you an extra this or that, but no one likes making 40 trips back and forth during dinner rush. Just make a mental list and I’ll bring it all at once!
Yo, Waiter! [image source: davesblogcentral.com], crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Yo, Waiter! [image source: davesblogcentral.com]
  • Server brings food to table.
  • Patron: “Could I have an extra fork?”
  • Server: “Of course.”
  • Server brings extra fork.
  • Server: “Anything else I could grab you?”
  • Patron: “Actually yeah, could I have a cup of ice.”
  • Server: “Sure!”
  • Server returns with ice.
  • Repeat back and forth with 3 extra items.
  1. DO NOT be snippy. This is different than the very obvious ‘be polite’ lesson you get from your parents when you learn to say your pleases and thank yous. I am most certainly here to make your night more pleasant, but I am not a mind-reader. Don’t get upset about something you failed to communicate.
  • Server notices some plates are finished and approaches table.
  • Server: “Can I get you guys anything else?”
  • Patron: “A spoon please.”
  • Server clears some empty plates and returns with the spoon for remaining dishes.
  • Patron: “Yeah, thanks but I wanted this spoon for one of the plates you just cleared.”
  1. DO make conversation! I can clearly gauge the chattiness of table right off the bat, but having a bit of banter with a table makes the night so much more enjoyable on both ends. Isn’t it more fun to have dinner served by a new friend than a complete stranger?
  • Server greets new table.
  • Server: “Hi guys! What brings you guys in tonight?”
  • Patrons: “My birthday!”
  • Server: “Happy Birthday!”
  • Patron: “Thank you!”
  • Server brings surprise birthday dessert at the end of the night.

6. DON’T linger forever, especially on weekend nights, after you’ve finished. Yes, we love to have guests feel comfortable and enjoy laughing with friends late into the evening, but try to be courteous of the fact we have lives as well. If your glass is empty and the bill is paid, kindly move the party to a friend’s place or new bar. We all have to wait to start closing up once you’ve walked out the door, which can be quite a bummer 11:30PM on a Saturday night.

  • Server at 9:00PM: “Hi ladies could I get you another bottle of wine?”
  • Patron: “Nope, we’re finished thanks.”
  • Server at 9:45PM brings bill to last remaining table.
  • Patrons continuing chatting.
  • Server at 10:30PM runs credit card.
  • Server polishes silverware, resets tables, starts to help clean the bar.
  • Server at 11:15PM: “How’s it going guys? Can I get you anything else at the moment?”
  • Patron: “We’re all good, thank you.”
  • At 11:30PM patrons put on their coats and leave.
  • Server: “Thanks so much for coming in tonight guys!”